Three-Minute Testimony, do you have one?

By Jeff Hedglen

North Texas Catholic

8/23/2016

Before that providential night in December of 1981, I was a cradle Catholic who went to Mass weekly because my family did. I did not mind youth group activities, but I was not “all-in.” 

Most significantly, I was a depressed and lonely 16-year-old who had just left the only life he had ever known when his family moved to Texas.

On that night, at a retreat, we were all asked a question: “Who are the two most important people in your life?” I thought for sure my mom would be one, certainly not my dad, because he’s the reason we were in Texas. I had just left all my friends behind a few months ago, so I could not think of another person. After a few moments the leader asked us all: “Was one of those two people God?”

In that moment, my life and my understanding of God changed forever. Up to that point God had always been out there, somewhere, watching me from a distance. But, with these two simple questions I realized God could be a person in my life. This was new information, and in that moment my faith became personal. Nothing has ever been the same.

With this newfound connection to God, everything about my faith took on new meaning. Now I was meeting my friend everywhere I went. I encountered Him in people, creation, and especially the sacraments. I had always believed what the Church teaches about the Eucharist, but now I believe it.  As the years have gone on, the personal nature of this relationship with God has only grown and strengthened, and I am forever grateful for those two simple questions.

What you just read is my Three-Minute Testimony. We all have one, even if we have never thought it through. If you are reading the North Texas Catholic you most likely have some type of relationship with God, you are probably Catholic, and there are specific reasons for these two truths in your life.

Have you ever asked yourself why you believe in God, or why you are Catholic? Has anyone ever asked you either of these questions? Often we as Catholics are ‘experience rich’, but ‘language poor’ when it comes to our faith. We go to Mass and avail ourselves of the sacraments. We attend retreats or Bible studies. We pray before meals and even pray the Rosary, but have we ever spoken to anyone about why we do any of these things and the impact they have on our lives?

It is pretty simple to build your own Three-Minute Testimony. You just answer these three simple questions:

  1. What were you like before? Were you a crazy sinner, nominal Catholic, an atheist or maybe you always had some faith and it has grown throughout life?
     
  2. What happened? Did you have a strong conversion experience or a slow and steady revelation of God in your life? Maybe it was a significant life event like the death of a family member, the birth of a child, or a retreat.
     
  3. How has this changed you? Based on your encounter, or encounters with God, how are you different? What impact has your faith in God had in your day-to-day life?

When you answer these questions with short, specific answers, you will have a three-minute story of your life of faith. Sure the story is really longer than three minutes, it is truly lifelong. But the reason for a Three-Minute Testimony is so you are ready with a short, well thought out explanation of why you believe when you are asked why you have faith.

Every single person has a story, and every story is unique. There is no right or wrong kind of story. The only way your story is less than perfect is if you do not know how to share it.

Imagine where we would be if the disciples had not shared their experience with Jesus. Christianity would not have made it out of the first century. Yet, here we are 2000 years later, and you are the next in line to share how Jesus has impacted your life. 

Before that providential night in December of 1981, I was a cradle Catholic who went to Mass weekly because my family did. I did not mind youth group activities, but I was not “all-in.” 

Published